Just after the Montreal Canadiens announced that they would not be bringing Andrei Markov back for the 2017-18 season, speculation on where he would land exploded. Igor Eronko of Sport-Express was first to link the Russian defender to the Florida Panthers, a team looking to get back into the playoffs following a very disappointing season. As CapFriendly points out, the Panthers easily have enough room to accommodate the veteran defenseman under their salary cap.
Florida does have a lack of left-handed defensemen, with only Keith Yandle and Michael Matheson penciled into their starting group but also doesn’t look like they have much room for Markov at first glance. Already Ian McCoshen, their prized second-round draft pick that made his NHL debut last season looks to be on the outside looking in, and Markov would only further that. There has been rumors of the team trying to move Jason Demers, with one report going so far as to say that he nixed a deal that would have sent him to Vancouver. If Demers was moved out, it would open up some minutes for Markov along with several million in cap space.
Since Dale Tallon was given back the reins of the franchise this spring, he’s made several moves to push the Panthers back towards his direction of the club. Bob Boughner was brought in as head coach, Reilly Smith and Jon Marchessault were moved out and the team has apparently moved on from any thought of bringing Jaromir Jagr back to town. Demers was signed to a five-year $22.5MM contract last summer, one that will actually pay him much less in the latter half and may be palatable to the majority of teams around the league.